Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Advice Column

Here I am posting three days in a row. Do you know what that means? Me neither. But, I just might be winding up for a big finish. We'll see.

Advice Column

I have to admit that I get a bit impatient with all the advice, particularly writing advice on the blogs. Why is it we can’t help telling others what to do?
I heard some profound writerly advice in a movie I watched a few weeks ago. The movie  ~ Midnight in Paris ~ written and directed by Woody Allen. While there are many things I take exception about with Mr. Allen and his life choices, I do enjoy his movie making and think that on many occasions he has proved his brilliance. Just my humble opinion.

Anyway…in this movie he portrays a famous author giving some advice to an aspiring one.
Aspiring Author – Will you read my WIP?
Famous Author – Ok, I hate it.
AA – But, you haven’t even read it.
FA – I hate it anyway.
AA – How can you say that?
FA – Well, if it’s poorly written I’ll hate if because I hate bad writing. If it’s well written I’ll hate it because it might be better than my writing. Here comes the profound advice – wait for it – wait for it – Never ask another writer to read your work!

There you have it. Sage advice by none other than Woody Allen, feel free to consider that advice worth exactly what you paid for it.

NEXT, up some sage advice from none other than ME. I promise it will not be writerly advice. I value integrity and try diligently to act with it at all times, but most particularly when dealing with my friends. I have recently promised a friend I would never hurt them and I would always be honest. Therein lay the dilemma. There was something between us that I felt a need to tell the truth about, but I knew it would hurt this friend. If I told the truth, my integrity would remain intact and I would hope my friend might respect that, but I had the potential to hurt my friend’s feelings. If I lied, I would have to live with the fact that my integrity was not intact and I was not exactly who I thought I was. So what do you do?

What did I do? I told the truth, and I wish with everything that I am and will ever be that I had not. This friend didn’t say a word, but I know I hurt them. I’m lucky like that, I have the ability to make connections with people that I care about and feel their pain. Today there isn’t a dark enough place in hell for my soul.

My advice, if you ever face this particular situation. Lie through your teeth. My integrity will never be the same and neither will my heart for what I have done.


  1. Two comments in one:

    1) I have added 'Midnight In Paris' to my Netflix queue and should be seeing it in a few weeks. Thanks for the suggestion.

    2) Something tells me you haven't hurt your friend in the least and have simply misinterpreted her silence. Call it a hunch.

    [Psst. "Hunch" = I know who your friend is because she's a good friend of mine too, and I happen to know she's just been very busy lately and unable to address all of her Email in a timely manner, P-P H.]

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  2. I haven't seen Midnight in Paris but I keep hearing really wonderful things about it so I'm definitely adding it to my Must Watch list.

    Unlike Stephen, I don't know your friend but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you're feeling like there isn't a dark enough place in hell for your soul.

  3. Sometimes the truth hurts. Then we get over it.
    If the truth was for all the right reasons then you did what you had to do.

  4. I loved Midnight in Paris. Great movie! As for the truth, it may be hard now, but your friend will forgive you. It may take some time but if you were as tactful as possible and did it for the right reasons, they'll realize that at some point. Hang in there!

  5. wow that's a tough one--i hope you two patch things up

  6. Oh, crap. I hope I didn't give any advice in a past comment. If so, disregard. :)

  7. I tend to rant about bad writing techniques that I see...is that the same as giving advice?

    In any case, I'll admit that I lie all the time. It really is true, if you want an unfiltered opinion of your writing, don't ask another writer. Ask them to proofread or edit, but don't ask them for honesty.

  8. Oh how awful- the situation we all dread being in. I find it so hard to be insincere and being insincere to a friend feels so much worse. I really hope you two manage to get back on a better footing.

  9. I've heard really good things about Midnight in Paris.

    And I really do see your dilemma between the truth and not hurting a friend. Personally, I'd rather have honesty in the end, even if it does sting at the time. Hearing lies and finding out the truth later is so much more hurtful.

  10. I should look for Midnight in Paris on Netflix.

    I hope your friend is still your friend.

  11. Midnight in Paris has been on my watch list for a while now.., I really need to watch it! Great post, thanks for sharing!

  12. Yes, honesty is not always the best policy. Second, I want to hug you for this post. I HATE advice. Period. Nobody can tell us how to write or do anything in X easy steps. Then there are the people who charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for their magical solutions. It all annoys me. We have to find our own way. Thanks for opening the window for me to rant on this subject.


  13. Ooh, that is so tough. But yeah, honesty and not hurting don't exactly get along very well. I argue with a very good friend about honesty all the time - I say it's important; he says it isn't. When I asked him if he's ever lied to me, I fully expected him to say "No, because I know you treasure honesty." Instead he said "Yes." But now I'm confused - if he lies to me, wouldn't that have been the perfect time to do it again?

    I'm sorry for what you're going through, and if you feel like looking at a bright side...at least now you've learned a very important lesson about the difference between what people say they want and what they actually want. :(

    P.S. Loved, loved, loved Midnight in Paris!

  14. *hugs*

    And yet I've learned so much from by writer critique partners.

  15. Difficult situation. Good luck with the resolution. Never easy to choose to lie or keep your integrity.

  16. Sometimes Woody Allen gets it completely right.

  17. I have never seen Midnight in Paris, Perhaps I should check it out.

    Sorry to hear your sad news. I myself prefer honesty from people and although the truth does tend to sting a little it keeps things in perspective.

    I believe while wearing rose-tinted specks you only see what you want to see and therefore end up living an illusion.

    Hang on in there - she will see the light, I'm sure or perhaps you have the wrong end of the stick and all is fine anyway.

  18. great post! first, i should say i love van morrison! and i also like woody allen... thtough i haven't seen midnight in paris yet
    on the advice bit, i agree... there seems to be a ton of writing advice out there... some of it i find helpful but a lot really says the same thing
    stephen king gave the best advice, and i think it is the only bit you really need: read a lot and write even more!